I’m confident that last week will go down as one of the most significant weeks in the early history of ClarkCountyToday.com. It was the beginning of the Paul Valencia era for our news organization.
I first met Paul when the two of us worked together for a short time at The Columbian Newspaper. He joined our sports staff in the spring of 2000 and I departed that organization in the early weeks of 2001.
While we worked together for a relatively short amount of time, Paul and I were never too removed from each other. We shared a love for local sports and as my son Joseph entered his high school years, he had the privilege of his athletic endeavors being covered by Paul, who for the past 17 years has been the most prominent sports writer in Clark County.
During my son’s high school years, Paul covered many of his games and even wrote a feature or two about him. They were always thoughtful, well-written and entertaining. Obviously, I had a personal interest in the stories, not such an unbiased viewpoint, but helicopter sports parents like I was at the time are usually more critical than they are positive. So, that speaks to how good Paul was in my opinion.
What I enjoyed most about Paul’s coverage of my son and his athletic teams was the interaction between the reporter and the young athletes. It seemed like Paul knew every athlete in Clark County and they were always eager to see him and interact with him. And, if they saw Paul at their game on a particular night, they felt just a little more important because Paul had made the decision to cover their game over all the rest.
My favorite memory of Paul covering my son came in his junior basketball season, February 2008. My son’s team, Mountain View High School, was playing Skyview in a loser-out game at the Class 4A district tournament. My son had a lot of fun athletic moments in his career but this night might have been the best.
I think I can remember the amount of points he scored and the amount of assists he dished out, but it was a particular play in a spectacular fourth quarter performance that I remember the most.
In the middle of a packed gymnasium, in the final moments of an emotional game between two teams consisting of many great young players I knew on a personal level throughout their young lives, my son drove the lane and successfully finished the most amazing, acrobatic shot I think I ever saw him make. All I could do was laugh because it was so improbable.
Just moments after my son’s shot skillfully slid through the bottom of the net, Paul turned from his press row seat about 10 feet in front of me. His eyes were as if he was in disbelief and his mouth mimed the word “wow.’’ I continue to laugh and he turned back around and continued to do his job. About a month later, when Paul announced The Columbian’s All-Region team, his comment about my son was something like, “he brings the ‘wow’ to the gym.’’ That made my son chuckle.
But, I’m not suggesting Paul’s coverage of my son’s endeavors is why he is such a good fit at ClarkCountyToday.com. The reason why it was such a coup for us to add Paul to our staff is that for the past 17 years, he’s been the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County. No one has outperformed him. No one has outworked him. No one has been more appreciated by sports fans and participants than he has been.
So, Paul has joined our staff. Even though the high school sports season is over, he has already made an impact. When standout Mountain View football player Darien Chase announced he was transferring to Union, Paul was the only one who provided a story with coach’s input. He also spoke directly to Darien, who understandably let his statement speak for itself.
Paul was also the first to report the story of Class 4A basketball state player of the year Cameron Cranston, of Union, electing to attend a prep school in Kansas next year rather than go straight to college. He also provided a great wrap-up story on the accomplishments of Clark County athletes at the spring state championships. On Tuesday, he will have a great package of content about the year in high school sports including a look back on the best day of the year for area athletes and teams.
Add Paul to our staff, which also includes award-winning sports photographer Mike Schultz, and you can understand why I’m excited about the commitment ClarkCountyToday.com has made to its future local sports coverage.
But, Paul came to ClarkCountyToday.com ready to cover topics other than sports as well. So, stay tuned, I know you will enjoy watching him branch out and display his skills in ways you haven’t witnessed before.
ClarkCountyToday.com is currently seeking another reporter to focus more on the top stories in the area, including the coverage of local government and politics. I’m excited to report that I’ve got an inbox full of resumes of professional reporters who are eager and anxious to join our team so I plan to have some more news for you soon. Anyone interested in that vacant position, should email a cover letter, resume and at least three writing samples to firstname.lastname@example.org.